This article was part of our first edition third grade. When we revised the curriculum, we decided to put it here as it would get more views and is important for all ages. Blessings.
Eurythmy by Barbara Bresette-Mills
Most everyone agrees movement is part of a healthy life. It is becoming more widely accepted that movement is also an aid to learning for we learn not only through our heads. Eurythmy as an art of movement addresses the whole being of the child, body, soul and spirit – the realms of life, love, and light.
Through the movements of eurythmy one engages the limbs in purposeful movements. The imagination and feeling life is awakened through the colorful language of stories, poetry and verse and each student/child is creatively active through their own individuality. Eurythmy brings into gesture the movements and underlying laws of language and music. These universal movements and laws are also a part of our human nature. Through the forming of these sound gestures we connect our inner nature to the universal nature, our self to the world around us. On a soul level we educate ourselves to be a citizen of the world.
Eurythmy as a part of Waldorf homeschooling can be a challenge especially if there is no eurythmist nearby to work with your group of children. Besides forming the actual sound gestures the social activity and movement together is an important aspect of eurythmy.
If you do not have a eurythmist to work with, what can you do?
The most important thing is to create movement with purpose and feeling. In working with preschool and kindergarten age children we must bring the story or verse to life. Children live so much in the moment and love to go where the character or creature in the story is going. If doing a story about a bird, for example, do you as a parent or teacher experience the bird there in the room, do you see the bird, are you interested in its actions? In order for a child to be interested in what we bring it must be real to us, we must believe it and be so engaged and they will follow into the imagination. It is a creative opportunity to imbue our actions with joy and feeling.
Here are a few suggestions to help with creating movement for your children.
For children ages 4-6
- Keep movements simple and related to the images of the story or verse.
- Work with the polarities of large and small movements (full limbs or fingers and hands), fast and slow, up and down, quiet and soft or loud and strong. This encourages inner movement and inner flexibility.
- Have care, purpose and meaning in the movements you choose so they embody warmth, joy and life.
- If working with a story try different kinds of stepping round the circle for the characters. Is it a queen walking nobly upright with a crown on her head?
- Is it a bear bumbling through the woods, or a little mouse scampering in the leaves? Maybe it’s an elf character prancing in and out of the trees. This brings not only deftness and flexibility into the feet and limbs, but enables one to experience different qualities of soul or of nature.
- Body geography exercises such as “head, shoulders, knees and toes.”
- Do it slowly, quickly, change the order or add to it. One can do it with a rhythm or with music.
- Especially with second grade it can be helpful to do simple clapping games with a partner. The beginnings of social harmony in working together, in time with another.
- Third graders enjoy a challenge and one can do more complicated clapping games or stepping of rhythms that alternate foot and arm movements, that change tempo or directions in space. This helps with coordination and accuracy in execution of the movements.
- It is still helpful to bring movement in relation to the stories or material you are studying.
- Listening exercises that involve bringing a rhythm into stepping or clapping help with the relationship between our senses and limbs.
- One could bring simple group dances that involve contraction and expansion of the circle, changing partners etc.
- Moving mirror patterns with a partner.
Thank you Barbara! Barbara is a eurythmy teacher in the Austin, Texas area.